One of the old residents of 1871, and one of the most worthy citizens of Meredith township, is W.M. Hardesty. He is a native of Iowa, born in 1844. His father was James Hardesty, and settled in Iowa in 1840, in the territorial days of that state. The Hardestys were of English origin. His father was a native of Ohio and moved to Indiana, and from that state to Iowa, where he died when his son, the subject of this sketch, was a small boy. Mr. Hardesty's mother was Mary Ann Tuttle, of Ohio. Her ancestors were German people, and settled in Maryland. She died in 1869. Mr. Hardesty is one of thirteen children, six of whom are living; three of this number were triplets. The eldest brother, Joseph, is a farmer and stockman of Barber county, Kansas. Two brothers, John and James, of Omaha, Nebraska, and two sisters, in Louisa county, Iowa. By a second marriage there was one child, D.W. Tucker, of Iowa.
Mr. Hardesty was educated in the subscription schools of their neighborhood. His father's means were meagre, as is usually the case with settlers in a new country, and his educational advantages very limited. At the age of eighteen years Mr. Hardesty enlisted in the United States army and served his country two and one-half years. He was a member of Company A, Ninth Iowa Cavalry, with Captain John C. Reed and with General Steele through Missouri and Arkansas, who was superseded by General Reynolds. Their brigadier generals were Trumbull and Geiger. They were engaged in arduous and dangerous guerrilla warfare a greater part of the time and many of their men were killed, wounded and taken prisoners. His brother Joe was captured, but paroled eleven days later.
After the war Mr. Hardesty returned to Iowa and resumed the farming he had undertaken before entering the service, continuing in that capacity until coming to Kansas in 1871. He came overland and homesteaded the farm where he now lives, erected a shanty 11x14, with roof sloping one way, but shingled, which was rare among the dwellings of that time, and there was one small window. In addition to this he built a dugout.
June 7, 1872. he was married to Bella J. McNamer, whom he had known in Iowa. Mrs. Hardesty was born and reared in Louisa county and educated in the high school of Muscatine, Iowa, and finished a teacher's course in Otterbine College of Linn county, Iowa, and was a successful teacher four years. In the pioneer days of Iowa, Mrs. Hardesty attended school in a primitive building erected for that purpose with puncheon floor and slabs converted into seats by inserting pegs for legs. Here she learned to read, write and spell, and add "1 and 1 is 2," etc. She was twelve years of age when she could claim the ownership of a slate and fifteen years old when she became the possessor of a lead pencil.
Her father was Nicholas A. McNamer. He was born in 1803, and died in his fifty-third year. He came to Iowa in 1844, and settled in Louisa county, where his brother Phillip had preceded him four years. Her mother was Margaret Earnest, born in 1812, and died at the age of eighty-six years, in Davenport, Iowa. The parents were married in Pickaway county, Ohio. Her father emigrated in wagons to Iowa and purchased five hundred acres of land in Louisa county, which he put under a fine state of improvement and dealt in cattle and fine bred horses. He became a wealthy and influential farmer and stock breeder.
Mrs. Hardesty's paternal grandfather was Philip McNamer. He with his family, consisting of a wife and three children, moved on foot, drove the cows and carried their clothing in bedticks, over the Alleghany mountains, a distance of three days' travel. Her father was one of sixteen children. Mrs. Hardesty's maternal grandmother lived to be one hundred and eight years old. She with her family settled in Michigan in 1863, and at the age of ninety-five visited her daughter in Iowa. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church one hundred years. The Earnests were a religious and God-fearing people. Mrs. Hardesty's maternal great-grandfather Breece was a colonel in the Revolutionary war, and was killed in battle at Old Reading, Pennsylvania. Her youngest brother, Nicholas, was killed at Atlanta, while serving in the United States army, and another brother, Nehemiah B. Philip, was wounded the same day. Her eldest brother and a comrade walked and carried their satchels from Iowa to St. Louis during the winter of 1849, where they found the river open and took passage for California via the Isthmus of Panama. He worked in the mines there during the gold excitement of that period until 1865, when he was injured by a stone falling on him, and died several years later from the effect.
Mr. and Mrs. Hardesty are the parents of eight children, one son and seven daughters: Florence, the eldest daughter, is a stenographer employed in the Cloud County Bank of Concordia. She was a teacher for several years, a graduate of the Delphos high school and in 1899 graduated from the Salina (Kansas) Wesleyan Business College. She has held her present position three years. Frances E. is a graduate in the common branches from District No. 3 and of the Delphos high school. She has taught school successfully and held the position of deputy clerk in the county clerk's office. She is now interested with her two sisters, Florence and Carolyn, in the millinery business at Clyde. Otis E., their only son, graduated from the Delphos high school and in 1898 graduated from the Wesleyan Business College of Salina. In 1899 he was employed at the head of the commercial department of the Kansas Normal College at Fort Scott. He was married in 1901 to Sybyl Crawford, a daughter of C.H. Crawford, of Ottawa county. He takes an active part in politics, is a staunch Republican and is one of the rising young politicians of the county. Carolyn, now of Clyde, is a graduate of the Delphos high school and was a teacher in Cloud county for two years. The younger daughters are Marion, Dorothy, Josephine and Mildred. Mr. Hardesty was a Democrat until seventeen years of age. He then departed from that faith and has since affiliated with the Republican party. The family are attendants of the Methodist Episcopal church, Bethel congregation. Mr. Hardesty is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Post of Delphos.
Mr. Hardesty has given considerable attention to horticulture and his orchard produces especially fine peaches and cherries. His farm consists of three hundred and sixty acres. He raises wheat principally and keeps a herd of about fifty head of cattle, which are chiefly milch cows. In corn years he raises from one to two hundred head of hogs. Mr. Hardesty and his family are people of admirable qualities. Their home is a pleasant one and his wife and daughters are intelligent, refined and useful women, possessed of good business qualifications that go far toward making life a success.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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